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Hi All,

My goal for 2021 is to get more people listening to my music. At the moment, I don't care if they pay for it or not. I'm 60 and retired, so the money thing is behind me. 

I compose in a style that can be best described as contemporary classical. I like to think of it as something similar to Prokofiev, I know, that's a huge call, but it's the best way to describe my style to people.

Now, I have the same problem in getting people to listen to and too play my music as I did 40 years ago. I just cannot get people interested and I'm not sure why. Maybe my music is not their style, maybe players and groups think it is poorly written, I don't know, because no one will tell me what they think. The usual response is "this is not for us". Which tells me nothing.

I feel there are several reasons why people will not play or listen to my music, one is because it is almost impossible to hear my style of music on the radio or on streaming sites. So people are simply not able to hear music in my style and grow accustomed to it or like it. Actually, I feel this is the main reason why I can get my music heard. Plus, I live in Australia, and we are pretty musically conservative here.

Almost all my music is tonal as well. So there's nothing too scary for people who love classical music. Here's a sample, my piano quartet No. 1.

I'd love to know what you would do in my position?



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I had a look/listen to the Spitfire solo strings and they seem to be treated as solos in a symphony orchestra. The demos gave no clue of how dry/wet they're recorded. 

I tried the BBCSO "discover" freebie but the reverb can't be turned off so impossible to blend it with anything else easily. Hopefully the solo strings are recorded dry otherwise they'd be a problem in a string quartet playing something truly agile (like, say, the 2nd movement of Bartok's 4th Quartet). where just a salon-styled reverb would be about right. Unfortunately there's no quartet playing in the demos to be able to tell. 

Have you tried them yet? Is the reverb adjustable down to dry?

Many thanks if you can let me know.


Harmonius said:


I might add that if you are thinking about purchasing any of the Spifire libraries that DC has mentioned, now is the time to do it.  They are having a big sale right now that only lasts a few more days. i picked up the solo strings library at a 40% discount the other day and i am really looking forward to exploring it.

Hiya, Dane. 

everything is recorded dry in high-quality software like the Spitfire libraries. By default, everything will probably have a little reverb added- just turn the reverb off, or any other effect that might be added.




four files attached:

SSS all has all three mic positions at 100%

SSS C has close mic at 100% and others at 0%

SSS T has tree mic at 100% and others at 0%

SSS A has ambient mic at 100% and others at 0%

I didn't see a reverb control


Dane, fourth file


Hi DC,

Thank you for this. They are good string sounds and better than what I have. While they are not suitable for this piece, as it's for a piano quartet, I can hear what you mean.

I am looking at the Spitfire Sacconi String Quartet, and the Native Instruments Cremona Quartet, which is mind-blowingly good,  although the costs are a bit scary, they would make all the difference. However, these are designed so that you get the best out of them by playing the music in by hand and not throwing in a midi file in a DAW and then applying expression and articulations.

It's up to me to weigh up what is the best thing for me to get my music heard. In all honesty, I feel I have more chance of getting a real group to play my music than it would be for me to write my music and for me to perform each part into my DAW, while creating a life like performance. It would be better to pay a group to play and record my work, rather than deal with the frustrations of trying to play in every part, even for something as small as a quartet.

That said, finding a quartet here, to play my music is no easy task. I don't think there's one based in my region.

Back to the drawing board they say.

Thank you for all your help and advice. It's been rewarding talking to you and everyone who has replied. This is great group.



Thanks. I use the Native Instruments Grandure for my piano. It is the most realistic I've ever tried.

I wish I could play in the notes like others can. I have tried and any more than two instruments and it is an awful mess that no quantising will ever fix.

I use Sibelius to notate my music, and that provides the most realistic playback of what I have written and what I hear in my head. Although the sound quality is not good, if I add pizz, tremolo or any other articulation, it does a very good job of reproducing those effects, I don't have to add key switches to every note that needs them, like you do in a DAW, so that's a plus.

I can add sound sets like the Sacconi Strings Quartet in to Sibelius, but again, you have to write in the key switches to the stave. If I apply a pizz in Sibelius, the Sacconi Strings Quartet vst will not recognise it.

Thanks for the help.



Harmonius said:

Hi Rob,

I kinda agree with DC about the strings, but think the piano sounds great. As for getting folks to listen to and like our music, I suppose that's something we all seek. Fortunately for me, this is not my source of income/sustenance so I am free to just make whatever music that appeals to my tastes. if others like it, that's a bonus. Just my two cents, FWIW.

Happy New Year!

Hi Dane,

You have more patience than me man.

I reckon that once I have spent months writing a piece, say a sting quartet, it's just too heart-breaking to go and re-create it all over again in DAW to get a life like performance. I know that that is what is required, but I'm usually too inspired by something else to re-work one of my pieces.

Maybe when I'm dead someone will play my music, for real.

Cheers and thanks for your thoughts.


Dane Aubrun said:

Hoping you'll excuse me chipping in this late, although I play piano moderately and sometimes throw a piano track in midi, I do everything through the Daw's midi editor.

It's time consuming, usually takes far longer to set up an orchestral score in the daw than to compose - not always. The great thing about the daw is one can make adjustments to the instrumentation when something doesn't sound as one hoped.

I compose on paper, rough in the orchestration usually just with (text) notes, ponder on it; literally cut and paste as necessary, spend some time getting to know what I've done - then set it up in the daw (Reaper). I have a few templates so the initial set up is easy - usually just the tempo needs adjustment.

Then I draw in the piano roll notes. Yes, it takes time but one has as absolute control as midi and the samples allow, far more so than straight notation software.  I standardised keyswitches for most articulations for most instruments where possible. The way I write I use loads of keyswitches.

Probably the most time consuming is getting the balance right. I rarely twiddle the mixer sliders after the initial set up - everything is done through velocities like in a real orchestra where you ask a player to play quieter or louder. 

The aim is to make as good as mock-up as possible...... and I have lots yet to learn.

So, all the best with whatever method you like to work with.

Rob J Kennedy said:

Unless I am missing something that is. Say with a good sound set like Vienna Virtual Instruments, you have to play each line in, apply expression, then set the key switches for staccato, legato, marcato, pizz and so on. Is that not the way it is done to create a life like sound quality?




Now if only they demonstrated more of that in the demos it would have helped.

As for the BBCSO there was no way to turn off the reverb in the player interface. The rotary knob toward the left at the bottom adjusts the reverb and at 0% the reverb is too heavy. It isn't an easy interface to use. I wasn't ready to shell out for the core set in case it's no better. Shame because the BBCSO is a top class orchestra which I've heard many times live. I raised a question with Spitfire about assigning a CC for velocity control in the editor and it took them more than a week to reply. (My grumbles are still on the site here somewhere!! :)

Many thanks though for the info.

Cheers and a happy new year to you and everyone!


Hey Rob, are you familiar with NotePerformer for Sibelius?

Rob J Kennedy said:

I use Sibelius to notate my music, and that provides the most realistic playback of what I have written and what I hear in my head. Although the sound quality is not good,

Hi, Rob...This is the question posed in your opening post:

I'd love to know what you would do in my position?

Rob...I Would luv to have Vinnie Colaiuta, Dennis Chambers, Dave Weckl performing all my drum parts for example, but that ain't ever going to happen! So to get what I want I've had to do it myself by spending money & learning how to programme drums. There's no 2 ways around it, Rob! All due respect but without putting the effort in, you'll never be happy- unless you're able to pay live musicians of course.

Peace & Happy New Year.


It's about getting the sound that you want or as near as possible to it. No sample library has everything so one has two choices: work within the limits of what you have or don't do it at all. Being self-critical is important to me and I suppose anyone for whom the result is important as this is what the listener receives.

If better resources to achieve ones aims are within reach then go for them.

It isn't just what notes are played but how they're played, depending on the authenticity sought after and the genre.

Ah well, it's dead on midnight. I've just raised a glass to you all. Happy new year. 

Yes, I only use NotePerformer. It is good.

Ingo Lee said:

Hey Rob, are you familiar with NotePerformer for Sibelius?

Rob J Kennedy said:

I use Sibelius to notate my music, and that provides the most realistic playback of what I have written and what I hear in my head. Although the sound quality is not good,

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